We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know it would happen so soon. Twitter is unleashing Fleets, a poorly-named take on Instagram or Snapchat Stories. The idea should feel familiar—Fleets self-destruct after 24 hours and sit at the top of your Twitter feed just like Stories. And if that ain’t weird enough, Twitter is also testing an audio chatroom feature that’s similar to Clubhouse or Discord.
Twitter first started testing Fleets in March 2020. The feature, which I’m comfortable calling a Stories clone, is supposed to help users have fun on Twitter without making permanent, public posts. You can’t Retweet or reply to Fleets, although you can react to them with emojis or a quick DM.
Like Instagram or Snapchat Stories, Fleets makes it easy to edit photos or videos with text and emoji. The built-in editor is quite simple, but it could make Fleets the go-to method for sharing photos and videos on Twitter.
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
Twitter also says that it’s testing audio chatrooms where people can chew the fat with friends and strangers. Audio chatrooms, which are similar to Clubhouse or Discord voice chats, seem like an odd direction for the text-based Twitter platform. Public chatrooms are much more difficult to moderate than Tweets, and to be honest, Twitter users don’t seem very interested in the new Voice Tweets feature introduced just two months ago.
Fleets is rolling out for all Twitter users now, but the feature is only available on mobile devices. Twitter hasn’t announced a release for its audio chatrooms feature, but the company could test audio chatrooms for select users in the near future.